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FAQ

Mean Gene answers your Fireworks FAQ about 4th of July Fireworks.

We get all kinds of fireworks FAQ, from fireworks safety to how to plan a successful 4th of July fireworks show. If you do not find the answer to your questions here, please let us know and we’ll be back in touch with you.

Q:  Are fireworks about the same price at other firework stands?
A: NO!! Because Mean Gene buys direct from the manufactures, so we are able to offer some of the lowest prices in Clark County.
Stop by one of our easy to find locations.

Q:  Can you buy fireworks at a discount on July 5th?
A: YES!! Mean Gene Fireworks is the only firework stand open on July 5th.
We have two locations to serve you:
one in Camas, WA and one in Bridge of the Gods, WA.
We send the fireworks from our 11 sales locations to these two and blow them out at ridiculously low prices. First come first served and while supplies last!!!

Q: Where is the closest retail fireworks location to Portland?
A: The closest location to the I-5 bridge is at Exit 3 on Hwy 99 in Vancouver Wa. One of the closest locations to the I-205 bridge is Hwy 14 East to exit 10 ( 192nd) Less than 5 minutes from the I-205 bridge.

Q: Why do some customers want to go to the Indian reservations to buy fireworks?
A: The reservations can sell firecrackers and rockets which the retail tents cannot. However the reservations sell many of the same items for a much higher price than you can purchase them for at the local tents.

Q: Are fireworks about the same price at all the sales tents?
A: Absolutely not! Many people just go out to the nearest place without shopping and pay way too much. We cater to the shoppers and let word of mouth keep our business growing each year. Last year we sold an item for $5.99 that a nearby tent was selling for $19.99 (The exact same item!). I have had many customers come into our tent after shopping somewhere else and say – “I wish I would have come here first!” Get more fireworks for your hard earned money – Check our low prices first.

Q: What is the largest legal firework you can buy?
A:The maximum amount of powder allowed in a single item is 500 Grams and this is usually a multi shot repeater. Typically a 500 gram multi shot repeater with a smaller number of shots will shoot higher and have larger bursts.

Q: What is the largest mortar or shell can you legally purchase?
A: The maximum amount of powder allowed in a mortar is 60 Grams,These are normally canister style shells and the powder is divided into the lift charge which propels the mortar into the air and the effect which bursts in the sky creating the display you see.

Q: What are the different classifications of fireworks?
Consumer Fireworks (formerly known as “Class C” Fireworks) – Also known as 1.4G Fireworks. These devices are most commonly sold at neighborhood stands during the Fourth of July season.

Display Fireworks (formerly known as “Class B” Fireworks) – Also known as 1.3G Fireworks. These are the fireworks used in large community displays run by licensed professionals (pyrotechnicians). These devices are not intended for use by consumers.

Q: What fireworks are legal in Oregon and Washington?
A: The law is different in each state. For a breakdown of these laws by state, visit our Directory of State Laws. Please be aware that within each state there may be local restrictions as well. Please contact your local fire or police department for the laws regarding your area.

Q: Why do I have to be 16 years old to purchase fireworks?
A: This policy is in effect for several reasons. First, we do not believe children should have access to fireworks without adult supervision. Second, in order to be bound to our Terms and Conditions, you must be an adult.

Q: When can you use fireworks?
A: You can use fireworks until 11:00pm and on the 4th until midnight.

Q: What are the differences between “consumer fireworks” and “display fireworks”?
A: Consumer fireworks are regulated by the Federal Government through the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) regulates commercial fireworks. In order to be considered consumer fireworks, the items must be tested for various attributes. For example, the items may not be made with compounds containing chlorates, the total amount of composition cannot exceed 500 grams, and there are limits on the amount of flash powder that is used to make something explode (50 mg for firecrackers, 130mg for aerials). Anything that falls outside of the CPSC guidelines is automatically classified as commercial fireworks.

Q: What do the numbers 1.4G and 1.3G mean?
A: These are numbers assigned by the Department of Transportation for the shipment of fireworks. Items classified as 1.4G are consumer items, while items classified as 1.3G are commercial fireworks. All fireworks items allowed for shipment must have an EX number in order to be shipped. See the Department of Transportation (DOT) for more information on this topic.

Q: I am looking for one of those rockets that the local fire department shoots at our city’s display on the Fourth of July. Do you sell those?
A: What you are probably referring to are shells, not rockets. Shells are launched from mortar tubes and come in a variety of sizes from 1.5″ all the way up to 16″ and more. Anything over 3 inches is considered commercial fireworks and requires a permit from the BATF to be able to purchase and use it. Commercial fireworks may also need a display permit from your Fire Marshal, and liability insurance. Your local fireworks club should be able to fill you in on the details when it comes to commercial fireworks.

Q: What is the maximum amount of explosive material contained in a consumer fireworks device?
A: The legal limit of explosive material in a consumer (1.4G or Class C) firework is 50 mg (about the size of half an aspirin tablet). Any item containing more than 50 mg is illegal and should be avoided.

Q: How can I recognize an illegal firework?
A: Look for a manufacturer’s name on each item or on the box in which they were packaged. Each device should also list instructions for proper use and have cautionary labeling. The manufacturer’s name and cautionary labeling are required by law. Fireworks without this information are probably illegal and, therefore, to be avoided. If you suspect that you have illegal fireworks, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.

Cherry bombs, M-80s, M-100s, and silver salutes are all examples of illegal explosives, sometimes mistakenly referred to by the press as legal, consumer fireworks. These items are extremely dangerous. Fireworks made from mail order kits are illegal and dangerous. NEVER attempt to make your own fireworks or tamper with legal consumer fireworks. Be extremely careful when ordering fireworks over the Internet. If you do use the Internet to obtain fireworks, be sure that you are purchasing from an established, legal vendor. Also, be sure to know all of the local laws concerning the use of fireworks in your state before ordering any items.

Q: How do fireworks work?
A: The basic ingredient of fireworks is black powder – also known as gunpowder. However, the creation of a fireworks display is truly an art form, one that has been perfected by some families for generations. The “paints” used by a craftsman of a pyrotechnic device are the different chemicals added during production. These chemicals provide the dazzling array of colors and visual effects on the canvas of a night sky, as well as the sounds (reports) that accompany the burst. The manufacturer carefully selects the chemicals to be used and determines the order in which they are packed into the casing in an effort to create a specific visual effect. Once the materials are packed into the casing, a fuse is affixed so that the device can be safely ignited. Although all of the colors and effects of a fireworks display are spectacular, the hallmark of a truly fine show are deep blue or dazzling white bursts – the marks of an expert pyrotechnician.

We hope these fireworks FAQ and answers have been helpful. For more information on fireworks, come to a Mean Gene Fireworks location near you. We have 11 locations in the Vancouver area.  Come see our wide selection and incredible pricing!